Open main menu

José Revueltas Sánchez (November 20, 1914, in [Santiago Papasquiaro]Durango – April 14, 1976, in Mexico City) was a Mexican writer, essayist, and political activist. He was part of an important artistic family that included his siblings Silvestre (composer), Fermín (painter) and Rosaura (actress).


He was often imprisoned for his political activism, almost from the time he was a boy (from the age of 14–15 years) and was still a minor when he was sent for the first time to the maximum-security jail of those days: the Islas Marías. He participated in the Railwaymen's Movement in 1958, for which they imprisoned him again. In 1968 he was accused of being the "intellectual author" of the student movement that culminated in the Tlatelolco massacre, so he was arrested and sent to the Palacio de Lecumberri prison (aka The Black Palace), where he wrote one of his more popular books: El apando (The Punishment Cell) (A. Revueltas 1998; Valle, Alvárez Garín, and J. Revueltas 1970).

José Revueltas was a revolutionary from the start, because he practiced that which soon would become his most important pedagogical proposal: Academic Self-intervention, a product of his own form of studying reality by means of theoretical knowledge that supplies the reading. For this reason he left secondary school because they went very slowly and he dedicated himself, from then on, to visiting libraries and acquiring books. He was a complete man with many facets, bound to the necessities of the proletariat, of the people, he was dedicated on all the fronts in which he participated to the task of socializing and of politicizing society, the latter task a revolutionary one. He used literature, cinematographic scripts, the academy, partisan participation and the street to promote his project.

He joined the Mexican Communist Party in 1928, but was expelled in 1943 for his criticisms of the organisation's bureaucratic practices and for one of the best analyses of the left in Mexico: Ensayo de un proletariado sin cabeza (Essay on a Proletariat without a Head). He founded the Liga Espartaquista (Spartacist League) and the Partido Popular Socialista (Popular Socialist Party, or PPS), from which he also was expelled for questioning and criticizing the errors of the left.

Translated from the Spanish Wikipedia article.


  • Los muros de agua (1941)
  • El luto humano (1943) Published in English as Human Mourning and also as The Stone Knife
  • Dios en la tierra (1944)
  • Los días terrenales (1949)
  • Los errores (1964)
  • El apando (1969) Published in English as The Hole
  • México 68: Juventud Y Revolución (1968–1972)


  • Revueltas, Andrea. 1998. "José Revueltas y el 68. (escritor mexicano)." Siempre! 45, no. 2363 (October): 58–60.
  • Revueltas, Rosaura. 1980. Los Revueltas: Biografía de una familia. México: Editorial Grijalbo. ISBN 968-419-111-1
  • Sáinz, Gustavo, et al. 1977. Conversaciones con José Revueltas. Introduction by Jorge Ruffinelli, bibliography of works by and about José Revueltas by Marilyn R. Frankenthaler. (Cuadernos de texto crítico 3). Veracruz: Universidad Veracruzana, Centro de Investigaciones Lingüístico-Literarias.
  • Slick, Sam L. 1983. José Revueltas. Edited by Luis Davila. Twayne's world authors series 683. Boston: Twayne Publishers.
  • Valle, Eduardo, Raúl Alvarez Garín, and José Revueltas. 1970. Los procesos de México 68; tiempo de hablar. México: Editorial Estudiantes.

External linksEdit